Tasty, Wholesome Banana Bread
-1/3 cup butter or shortening, room temperature
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-4 large, overripe bananas, torn into chunks
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1/2 fresh orange or 1 whole lemon (both zest and juice)
-1 Tbs. baking powder
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. salt
-1 cup applesauce, either regular or no-sugar-added variety
-either 2 cups all-purpose white flour OR 1 cup white flour plus 1 cup whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
-additional butter for melting over hot bread tops
In a large mixing bowl, soften 1/3 cup butter or shortening. Add 3/4 cup sugar, toss in the banana chunks and start mashing. To the banana mixture, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 eggs.Take half an orange, grate the zest (peel) into the mixture, and squeeze the juice in while you’re at it. (You can use up to the whole orange if you want a zingier flavor in the finished product.) Stir in 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well.Next, dump in 8 ounces (1 cup) applesauce and stir again.At this point, you can either use 2 cups all-purpose white flour or combine 1 cup white flour with 1 cup whole wheat flour. Stir in 1/2 cup walnuts if desired.
Coat 8 mini-loaf wells or one large loaf or Bundt pan with nonstick spray, being sure to coat both the bottom and the sides. Pour the batter into the wells/pan and place in oven. Bake uncovered according to the following times:
- 18-20 minutes for cupcake-sized muffins
- 25-30 minutes for mini loaves
- 45-55 minutes for Bundt pan
- 60-70 minutes for full-sized loaf pan
Remove from heat when tops are golden and loaves feel firm but springy. While loaves are hot and still down in the pan wells, coat tops with additional butter. Once tops are buttered, use fork or other utensil to gently remove the banana bread from the pan. It may feel a little spongey right after you’ve buttered the hot loaves, but this won’t last. Place the hot loaves on wire rack to cool.
Wrap individually any loaves/muffins you’re not eating right away in plastic wrap to contain moisture.